Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/198859
Authors: 
Giorcelli, Michela
Lacetera, Nicola
Marinoni, Astrid
Year of Publication: 
2019
Series/Report no.: 
CESifo Working Paper No. 7499
Abstract: 
We study the interplay between scientific progress and culture through text analysis on a corpus of about eight million books, with the use of techniques and algorithms from machine learning. We focus on a specific scientific breakthrough, the theory of evolution through natural selection by Charles Darwin, and examine the diffusion of certain key concepts that characterized this theory in the broader cultural discourse and social imaginary. We find that some concepts in Darwin’s theory, such as Evolution, Survival, Natural Selection and Competition diffused in the cultural discourse immediately after the publication of On the Origins of Species. Other concepts such as Selection and Adaptation were already present in the cultural dialogue. Moreover, we document semantic changes for most of these concepts over time. Our findings thus show a complex relation between two key factors of long-term economic growth – science and culture. Considering the evolution of these two factors jointly can offer new insights to the study of the determinants of economic development, and machine learning is a promising tool to explore these relationships.
Subjects: 
science
culture
economic history
text analysis
machine learning
JEL: 
C19
C89
N00
O00
O39
Z19
Document Type: 
Working Paper

Files in This Item:
File
Size





Items in EconStor are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.